Saturday: Our plan for this day was to head to Frankfurt, spend some time browsing the Sachsenhausen Flohmarkt (Flea Market), go to the museum, eat some Thai food, and then head home. The best laid plans...
We decided to head out early in the morning so we could be in Frankfurt around 9:30 or 10 a.m. The flea market is open on Saturdays only from 9 - 2. We were up around 6:30 so we could catch the bus at 7:18. I grabbed my clothes out of my suitcase and my shirt felt a bit wet. Hmmm...I brought it to my nose and smelled that gross, pungent aroma of cat pee. The cat had peed in my suitcase the evening before. GAH!!!!! Thankfully, he hadn't peed on all of my clothes so I was still able to get dressed, but this was not the way I wanted to start my day.
We had some tea and the berliners I had purchased the day before. We bundled up and headed into the still dark morning. As we stepped outside, we saw it was raining a bit so we hurried to the bus stop. As we did the power walk down the road, we realized it was not rain. It was snow. Snow was pelting us through the air. We should have turned around and gone back home at that point, but no. We are hearty travelers, people intent on our mission. We made it to the bus stop, which thankfully had a small, shed-like shelter over it so that was a plus. We waited for the bus. And waited. And waited some more. It was supposed to be there at 7:18. It was now 7:25. And 7:30. And finally the bus arrived about 7:35. A little over 15 minutes late, which you wouldn't think would be a problem, but we arrived at our train station stop just as our train was pulling away. CURSES!
At this point it was snowing, we were cold, we had missed our train, and the next one wasn't scheduled to come for another hour. We seriously considered heading to Darmstadt instead for a day of shopping, but no, I was insistent we must go to Frankfurt, I wanted to see the museum and the flea market. My boyfriend is such a good sport. There was a nearby grocery store so we went there and sat at the bakery counter where we had a pastry and some tea. It was a good (warm) way to pass the hour until our train came. Finally, we went back outside and the train arrived.
We had to change trains a couple of times on our way to Frankfurt, but we made it at last. We had a map and we went to the tourist information counter in the Hauptbahnhof (the train station) to find out where we needed to be exactly. The flea market is located on the bank of the river in Sachsenhausen We headed over there. It was COLD. The snow was still coming down, although it wasn't sticking to the ground. Still, the air was frigid and the temperature was dropping by the second.
We made it to the flea market and it was a bust. Not many vendors were out there and of those that were, several were packing it up to head home. It was about 10:30/11. I couldn't blame them at all. It was so cold. We hurried through the vendors that were there and then found a cafe where we had tea and shelter. We studied the map to find out how to get to the Senckenberg Museum. Our plan had been to go to the flea market for a couple of hours, eat lunch at Thai Express, and then head to the museum. Since the flea market was a bust, we flipped the plan and decided on the museum and then Thai Express for lunch.
We weren't exactly sure how to get to where we needed to be to catch the bus/train to the museum so my boyfriend asked the elderly woman seated near us. She was very nice, but couldn't help. Later, my Thomas asked her to take our photo. She did so. She asked if the photo was good (in German) and I said to Thomas (who speaks both German and English) that it was OK, the lighting was a bit off, but it was fine. The woman then said to me in English "Is it really OK?" She had a British accent when she said this. And I said "Oh, you speak English. Are you from England?" She told me that after World War II, her parents had sent her from Germany to England to be educated there since Germany had basically been flattened by the war. She spent many years in England before returning to Germany. The people you meet when you travel are just amazing!
After that, we headed out to the museum. We walked a few blocks before finding the train station. It was freezing, but I always look at these things as an adventure and luckily, so does Thomas. We found the station and got on the train. It was the wrong one. There was someone on the train who told us which one we needed so we went back the other direction and found the right train. After departing at the train station, we walked several more blocks to the museum. I was absolutely frozen at this point, but the museum was a lot of fun. They had dinosaurs, fish, geologic items, and so on. It was a nice way to spend a couple of hours.
After the museum, more walking was in store for us. We went to the train station and got out where we thought we needed to be to find Thai Express. We were hungry at this point and really in need of some food. We walked and walked, looking at our map and pondering if we were in the right place or not. We asked a taxi driver to help us find the street and he pointed us in the direction we should go. That did not help, we still could not find it. Finally, we asked a worker at an open to the street sandwich shop and she said she had no idea. We walked a few feet past the shop. I have a habit of looking around at the different shops and streets when I travel and it's a good thing because I turned to look and there, right across the street, was Thai Express! VICTORY!!!
We were so happy to find the restaurant and have a chance to sit and eat some good food in a warm environment. We ordered and ate. It was not bad. I do not like Thai food as a general rule, but Thomas does so I was happy to eat there. I can always find something on the menu at any place so I had beef and rice and gave my wonderful boyfriend the stir-fried vegetables that came with it. A win for us both :)
After the Thai restaurant, we headed to the big mall called the Zeil Galerie. We were not planning on purchasing anything, but it was neat to look at. It has an interesting design. We stopped in the food court and had ice cream. One of my goals in Germany was to find Spaghetti Eis. I absolutely love it and I have not found anything equivalent in the U.S. so I really wanted some. The ice cream place in the mall had it and they brought it to our table. DELICIOUS!!
We rested a bit at the mall and then headed out to catch our train. We rode for a bit and Thomas said our stop was coming up so we had to get out. Unfortunately, it was the wrong stop and the next train that would get us to where we needed to be arrived in an hour. And, that train would take us back to Frankfurt before depositing us at our stop. Whatever, we didn't care, we just wanted to be home at this point. I spotted a hotel/restaurant/bar and we walked over there hoping they would be open. They didn't look open, but it turned out they were. THANK GOD.
We had tea in the restaurant, chatted, and rested before heading out to the train and catching it. It was a long ride back to Frankfurt and then to our stop in Reinheim. Finally, we made it to Reinheim. As we exited the train and it pulled away, Thomas realized his cell phone was on the train seat. GAH!!!! It was OK because the phone was older and it was a pre-paid card inside so no major money is lost, but still. It was just one of those "Really? This day has SUCKED" kind of things.
Our last bus, the one that would take us home, was scheduled to arrive in about an hour. This was the same place where we had started our journey (and missed our first train) so we headed back to the same grocery store K&U bakery counter where we once again had tea and relaxed until the bus arrived. The bus came and we got on, along with about 50 teenagers who were obviously headed to some party. Several of them had alcoholic drinks in their hands. Thomas explained that you are allowed to drink beer and wine at 16 and harder liquor at 18. These kids were probably about 15/16 so that explained it. I find the concept of taking the bus to the party kind of funny, but then they cannot get a driver's license in Germany until they are 18 so I guess you do what you have to do to get to the party.
Finally, we arrived home around 9:30. It was a very long and cold day. A hot shower was SO welcoming and my sweet boyfriend made tea. We relaxed for a bit before heading to bed, both of us just so happy to be home at last.
Sunday: We did absolutely nothing on this day except visit Thomas's grandmother for about 45 minutes. We had Hawaiian meatballs, potatoes, and corn for dinner and just stayed inside. Perfect way to recover from the trauma of Saturday!